Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Whole New Fan-fictional World

Fan Fiction. Ever heard of it? I had heard of it before, but had no idea how big the phenomenon really was until I looked it up out of curiosity.

Fan Fiction is when a fan of a movie, story, or some other medium of entertainment, decides to write a story using someone else’s characters. Usually they write about what they would like to see happen, even if it doesn’t match up with what really happens in the “official storyline”. For example: a fan might write about Harry Potter falling in love with Hermoine, rather than Ginny in J. K. Rowling’s series. This story can then be posted for free on the internet where anyone might enjoy reading it. Because no money is involved, this practice is perfectly legal. There are some fan fiction writers who become so well known, they are almost as popular as the real author.

As an author myself, I found this rewriting of fiction an interesting idea. A fan fiction writer reveals what they really wanted to happen in a book rather than what the author wanted. They can be two very different things. You would not believe what I found while doing research on this subject. Almost any book will have fan fiction written about it somewhere. Just try putting your favorite title and the words “fan fiction” and see what comes up. (Warning: not all fan fiction is created equal. Some are well written—others not so much. And there are always weirdoes out there so be careful of content when you do try reading anything.) I loved Trixie Belden series when I was young, so I once tried reading some fan fiction about her. Some of it was just bizarre, but others were so charmingly written they were better than the real thing.

On one website alone I found the following numbers of fan fiction for each of the books listed below:

Sammy Keyes – 70 fan fictions
Inkheart – 334 fan fictions
Ella Enchanted – 448 fan fictions
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 782 fan fictions
Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew - 807
Percy Jackson Series – 1,143 fan fictions
Sherlock Holmes – 1,242 fan fictions
Series of Unfortunate Events – 1,315 fan fictions
Redwall – 1,591 fan fictions
Warriors Series – 4,536 fan fictions
Phantom of the Opera – 8,764 fan fictions
Lord of the Rings – 41,419 fan fictions

And the Winner is . . .
A certain boy wizard we all know and love with 376,144 fan fictions and growing.

I guess a lot of people feel they can do a better job than most authors can. So, if YOU were going to rewrite a story what would it be?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Haunted House








Here are some pictures of my home decorated for Halloween. I've also included some pictures of my haunted dollhouse.














Here is a video of how the haunted dollhouse is supposed to look in the dark--the only problem is the video is too . . . uh, dark . . . to see anything. Enjoy what you can anyway.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That CAN'T Be the End!

Last weekend I watched a movie that had one of those endings where you stare at the credits after it’s over and say to yourself—THAT’S IT? That’s really how it ends? In this particular star-studded, romantic period film, the main character doesn’t get the girl, he doesn’t change his ways, doesn’t mend his relationships with those he loves before it’s too late, and ends up worse than he started off. A real fun time to be had for all. The film did have beautiful cinematography though. Too bad all the characters were too miserable to enjoy it.

I remember when I was younger, coming into the living room and getting caught up in this spooky paranormal thriller movie my father was watching on TV. The writer in my head kept thinking, "I wonder how they are going to get these poor people out of this horrible situation?" I was dying to know what the answer to the impossible situation would be. Realizing there was only five minutes of the movie left--and things were only getting worse by the minute--I asked my Dad what was the name of the movie was. He pushed the button that brought up the cable info on the movie and I began reading, "Stephen King's . . ." I didn't even have to finish. Two words and I knew the poor people in the film were probably not even going to make it out alive much less have a happy ending. My hunch was correct. Stephen King is funny that way.

So I want to know, who else out there in cyberspace has wasted two hours of their life watching a movie that they ended up hating? What was it that you disliked about the movie? How would you have liked it to end? This is a chance for all of you to vent your fury and help others to not make the same mistake you did. I expect everyone who reads this blog to contribute at least one movie title. If any of the pages working in the back room of the library are reading this right now, I expect a comment from each of you. (Chelsea and Daphne, that includes you!) : )

P.S. If you’ve never hated a movie, list one of your favorites and why you liked it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stories About Fear: A Halloween Treat

WARNING: Have you ever sat around a campfire listening to someone tell really spooky true ghost stories that make walking through the dark back to your tent afterward a hair-raising experience? The stories you are about to read below are NOTHING like those stories. They are true stories, they are about fear--but they are not scary. Not even a little. Sorry. Just wanted to warn you ahead of time. If you want a sleepless night you might want to try Goosebumps.
Or not.
Hopefully not. 

The Scariest Thing I Ever Saw in a Haunted Mansion
If you’ve ever been on the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland you know how it usually goes. Your spooky cast member shoves as many people as possible into a tiny room (which is really a humongous an elevator in disguise). You and a hundred people are trapped shoulder to shoulder in this dark cramped space while the spooky narrator explains that there is no way out. The lights go off, everyone gives half-hearted screams while waiting for the lights to come back up. Well a few years ago, on a very busy night at Disneyland, my sister and I went on this ride and got a completely different experience.
It was a busy night and my sister and I ended up crammed in the center of the room as the ride began. There was a small boy, maybe seven or eight-years-old, standing right in front of us. He was playing with this little light up toy his mother had bought him at one of the booths you see all over the park. When the Haunted Mansion ride got to the part where the lights go off—this boy got the brilliant idea to use his toy to light up the darkness. Spinning and flashing, the boy held up his toy for everyone to see. The only problem was, because he was so short, and the room so packed, the only thing people in the back saw was this bizarre spinning THING rising slowly up out of the center of the crowd. As anyone who has been on the Haunted Mansion ride knows, no spinning lights are supposed to come up out of the middle of the floor. None at all.
I had never seen a crowd in true panic before that moment. Half hearted screams, became shrieks of real terror as the crowd scattered to the walls like frightened sheep. There wasn’t really anyplace to go in such a small space. People were pushing, shoving and running each other over in an attempt to get as far away from the middle of the room as possible. I remember one woman grabbing her boyfriend around the neck and climbing up onto his back in an attempt to get away. Only a few of us, who were close enough to the boy to see what was really going on from the beginning, were left standing stunned in the middle of the room. Pushed tight against the walls, the rest of crowd could now that see the cause of their panic was nothing but a little boy and his light up toy. The screams turned to roaring laughter as the little boy’s mother, completely humiliated, grabbed the toy out of her son’s hand. The doors opened and the crowd exited, laughing heartily at themselves all the way down the hall of haunted pictures. It was one spooky ride I will never forget.

Two Completely True Stories of the Haunted Libraries—Sort Of
Many years ago I was stationed alone on the second floor of a children’s library when I had a strange experience. It was ten minutes after closing and a little boy, without parents, wandered slowly up the stairs and started walking toward the back of the building. I told him we were closed and that he’d better go find his parents. The boy completely ignored me and kept walking toward the back of the stacks. I called out to him again, with no response. He stared straight ahead, walking past me as if I didn’t exist and disappeared behind some shelving. There were only two exits from the second floor I stationed myself in a place where he would have to pass me, to get to either of them. I thought I’d give him a minute then go after him. I waited and waited, but he never returned. Thinking he might be up to no good, I went after him; carefully check down each row systematically to make sure I didn’t overlook him as I went past. The boy was no where to be found. And I do mean nowhere. I sat there a moment feeling an eerie chill go down my spine. I remembered the way he had looked right through me, almost as if he couldn’t see me. Then, with determination in my stride, I hurried down the stairs to the circulation desk and found—the same little boy, standing in line waiting to check out books with his parents. They left soon afterward. The end.
You were expecting a ghost perhaps? How about this one.
Many years ago a woman came rushing up to the reference desk in real distress. She was practically in tears as she told me she and her son had just been locked in the art gallery upstairs by a ghost. According to her, the ghost held the door shut while she struggled to open it. With her son’s help they had been able to break free. She was adamant I go up and do something immediately.
This incident would have been extremely disturbing to me if not for one little thing this poor women (bless her heavily beating heart) did not know. Only a week before her experience all the library staff had been warned to always prop the art gallery door open since the locking mechanism was broken and it might cause someone to be locked in accidentally. I myself had been caught in the room temporarily just a couple days before. I’d rattled the knob a few times and luckily it had popped open.
Seeing how truly upset she was, I tried as gently as I could to reassured her that in this particular incidence it had not been a ghost but a broken lock that caused her problem and that I was very sorry she’d been frightened. I’ve never seen anyone look so relieved. Not that I blame her. I’d much rather be locked in a room by a broken lock than a ghost, any day. But the scariest part of this story isn’t that someone believed there was a ghost in the library—but the revelation that I, as a librarian, am responsible for dealing with any evil specters that might be bothering our patrons on library premises. Where was THAT written in the original job description?
Now if you’ll just excuse me a moment, I’ve got to go strap my ghost busting pack on and deal with that pesky poltergeist currently haunting the biography section . . .

The Scariest Thing that Ever Happened to Me
I once bit into a grape and found a still wiggling bug inside—minus its head. I haven't eaten a grape since.
Have any great scary (or not so scary) stories of your own? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Time to Get a Haircut


As most of you know already, I recently made the decision to cut my hair short after wearing it extremely long since, like, seventh grade. I had no idea what I’d let myself in for. I spent six months trying to get used to the idea—telling myself over and over—it would look great!

Really.

I promise.

Once I’d made up my mind, I spent a couple months looking at possible hair styles and preparing people who had known me all my life for the shock. I told my friends one of these days I’d show up with short hair and could they please try not to show the horror on their face when they saw it. My grandmother never did become comfortable with the idea of my cutting my hair. Even now she kindly informs me that she likes how my hair looks, but she liked it better before.

The final days before my hair appointment were full of nail-biting moments of last minute doubts. When I went in to get it cut, I decided not to make any judgments until it was all done. The moment my hairstylist turned the chair around to let me get my first real look at my new hair—I sat there, stunned.

“Did you know you had naturally curly hair?” My hairstylist asked.

With all the weight off of my hair, it had bounced up into the most adorably sassy curls. You must understand. I’ve spent a lot of money over the years paying for perms, one after another to keep my hair curly all the time. Most people believe I was born with curly hair because that is all they have ever seen me have. I let my last perm grow out as I made up my mind to cut my hair and had been straightening it ever since. It was a real shock to find out I had curly hair hiding underneath all along.

Let’s just say I was REALLY please with the results of my haircut. The truth is I don’t ever think I will go back to having long hair again. Short is so much faster and lighter—you would not believe how heavy long hair is. And the static in Utah used to be murder on my hair. Not anymore. Hooray for short hair! To anyone considering chopping off their hair, do it now and don’t look back. You’ll never regret it. (Your grandmother might, but if she’s as sweet as mine is, she’ll deal with her disappointment and love you anyway.)

I know most guys like their lady love to have long hair—but here is one more thing for you gals to think about. Do you think guys ever stress for months over a simple decision to cut their hair? Is that fair?

Now go get your hair cut in protest.

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